RICHARD KENNETH CLARKE
July 27, 1950 - March 12, 2022
With profound sadness in our hearts but wonderful memories to hold dear, we announce the sudden passing of Rick on March 12th at the age of 71 with his family by his side.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife and best friend of 48 years, Connie, his beloved daughter Jessica (Mike), brothers Greg Clarke, Brian Clarke, nieces and nephews, Jillian (Mike) Sheedy, Carley (Kris) Luinenburg, Carter, Kallie, Kylo, Jamie (Sydney) Sandison, Shane Clarke, Dale Clarke, Brandon Clarke, Dana Foxx, and Chris Foxx. Rick was predeceased by his parents Edward and Theresa Clarke, Sister Pamela Carpenter, In-laws Stan and Marge Sass, Sister-in-law Janice Sandison, and Brother-in-law John Sass.
Rick was born in Windsor but moved with the family to Detroit, back to Windsor and finally Montreal. Long time friendships were made in Montreal that remain today. It was also in Montreal that he met Connie and after a crazy whirlwind romance, they were married 8 months later and a year later moved to Winnipeg.
Rick began what would be a successful 40 year management career in various manufacturing industries and industrial laundry and facilities services as well as providing Workplace Safety and Health expertise to many companies in Winnipeg through his own business. Following 13 years with Otto Bock Orthopedic Industry, and 8 years with Chemcrest Corporation, Rick chose a change in direction from manufacturing by working in the industrial laundry services at Quintex Services. Those 10 years at Quintex heading up Operations were what he considered the most rewarding work he had ever done and often said “Who knew doing laundry could be so much fun”. Of course there was much more to it than laundry, uniform and linen service. The real truth was that he enjoyed the challenges that the industry posed, the changes in technology and most importantly he enjoyed the people, the teamwork and camaraderie that was Quintex. The teams and management at Quintex truly were a second family to him. The decision to retire in 2013 was the hardest decision he ever made.
But the golf course and the bike (his baby) were calling to him! Retirement would allow him to spend more time on the course at Larters at St Andrews where he was a member for over 25 years. Rick was an avid golfer and participated in the men’s league, Saturday morning games, and tournaments at Larters making many friendships along the way. He also had opportunities to golf Kananakis, Myrtle Beach and other challenging courses. Fall was time to gather with the Whiteshell gang in our annual Lundar golfing event with fun and games and sometimes campouts to finish the weekend. While wintering in Florida, he joined a snowbird league and ended up golfing with the same team for several years.
A road loving biker in Montreal he picked up the nickname Gringo. After the move to Winnipeg, Rick took a break from riding for a few years after Jessica was born. But the itch to get back on the road returned and he bought his Yamaha VStar and would rekindle that love of riding. This led to hooking up with the Northern Stars and a group of amazing friends to share the joy of riding with. Weekend trips to a variety of Manitoba locations with the Stars led to great rides and even better after parties. Every year they managed to take in and support all the charity rides offered in Manitoba. And the riding season wrapped up with the annual corn boil in Brandon where Rick would occasionally showcase his fire making skills.
With retirement also came the opportunity to do more riding, and with his new Harley he hooked up with two other riding groups. His Thursday rides were out to areas well known to Rick and the nights were never short on great conversation and laughs over Pizza and beer. As a supporter of the Veterans Canadian Military group, Rick would take part in regular weekly rides with the guys. He was honoured to participate in the Annual Patriots ride in the States with both Canadian and American riding groups. He also joined the Manitoba section of the Rolling Barrage in recent years. The love of the road went beyond weekly rides; Road Trips were a passion for the Clarke family. Whether it was heading to Florida with the in-laws for an extended winter vacation or camping in the camper trailer in the summer across Canada and into the States, Rick was always up for a Road Trip. Those trips were so much fun with breathtaking scenery, amazing concerts in Minneapolis, High River Alberta, Countryfest, or weekend bargain shopping in Fargo. Every trip was an adventure.
Beyond riding the Road, Rick enjoyed the opportunity to travel. There were trips with close friends to Puerto Vallarta, casino trips to Vegas, Hawaii and business trips to Germany and China and many locations in the states for Clean shows with Quintex. With his Mom and brothers living in Sarnia, Rick made sure that he visited several times throughout each year. The times they had together at the casino or reminiscing over lunch and beers were always full of laughter. During one Sarnia trip Rick travelled with his brother Brian and niece Dana to take in his first NFL Detroit Lions game.
Even more than his dedication to his work, his joy of riding and golf and his friends, Rick was dedicated to and defined by his family.
Rick was especially close to his nieces and nephews always there to help whenever they needed a helping hand or advice. His love of little ones really shone with the arrival of Carter, Kallie and Kylo, and he would tease them to win them over. His love of kids went beyond his own family, as the children of friends from Montreal would become part of the extended family too.
The bond he shared with his daughter Jessica was epic. Rick would often say she was his “payback” and he couldn’t have more thrilled or proud of her. Of course his bad ass tough guy routine and gruff demeanour belied the huge heart he had. He was fine with that, he said the guys hanging around Jess needed to be afraid. As for Connie, side by side, Rick and Connie worked together on their life, lived the dream and had a tale of true and forever love.
Rick (AKA Gringo) was kind, loving, genuine, generous, loyal, funny, smart and lived a life full of love and integrity. A huge hole has opened in our lives, but we take solace in knowing that his connections with his friends and family were one of the greatest joys in his life.
Rick's family kindly requests that all of his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.
Race the Rain,
Ride the Wind,
Chase the Sunset.
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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